The sentence of a Boothbay man for attempting to murder a man in Edgecomb two years ago will test our new district attorney’s rehabilitation-first approach to criminal justice.
Here is a man who decided to kill someone, notified someone else of his plan, and only did not carry out his plan because he forgot to turn off the safety on his handgun.
He proceeded to shoot up a woman’s car and burn down a house, although those crimes strike us as secondary to his attempt to take someone else’s life.
The district attorney says this man’s lack of significant criminal history justifies a sentence of only two years.
In reality, he will serve a much shorter sentence if he stays out of trouble while in custody. Moreover, the state is allowing him to enjoy a couple months of good weather before he reports to jail.
Of course, he could serve more than two years if he violates probation.
But what if he violates probation with another violent crime?
The district attorney says the sentence will allow him to “take advantage of services that have proven effective in long-term community safety outcomes.”
A focus on rehabilitation and treatment over punishment is appropriate for minor crimes that involve addiction or a young person’s bone-headedness.
Is it appropriate for a 47-year-old man who pointed a gun at another man’s head and squeezed the trigger?
This case will test that conclusion. We can only hope to learn the result without more violence.